Hot fun with the summer wines!!…oooh yeh….

2005 l’Uvaggio di Giacomo Vermentino $11: Finally, an opportunity to write about a Jim Moore wine. First, a few words about Jim. He is one of many winemakers who are not media stars. However, he is widely regarded within the winemaking industry as a “go-to” person Jim-Moore-%231-nv.jpg
when you need something done. Looking for premium juice for sale by a high-profile winery? Call Jim. Need more super-premium French oak barrels? Jim probably knows where they can be had. Want to start a winery from the ground up? Do a custom crush? Fill-in a sudden and unexpected hole on your winemaking team because the winemaker for your long-standing label just went elsewhere? Want to turn around your wine program for your winery that is one of the oldest in the valley? He is the man to see. I am sure there are others like Jim in Napa. He knows them all, too. And what of his wine? Distinctive, meaning his wines share certain qualities regardless of the grape or employer. This Vermentino has all the earmarks of Jim Moore wine. He got the grapes from old old vines in Lodi. My summer reading includes “Blood and Wine”, the unofficial story of Gallo wines, and Lodi goes way back in California wine history. Jim knows. Read more about Moore here. His Vermentino is from young Lodi vines, fresh and light, balanced with a subtlety that you do not even think about the alcohol (12.5%!!) or any kind of awkwardness. Perfect summer style. Flavors bring lime, some white grapefruit (Indian River?), citrus rind (pick-a-fruit). Acid supports the overall tart and bright experience. It is available but good luck finding it.
2005 Edward Sellers Grenache Ros√© $12: The good dokker paired this Paso effort with the Languedoc wine below. The objective was to compare two fruity wines from the two distinctive regions that we are always yapping about. First sip showed hugely fruity and sweet flavors. I did not like it…at first. The dokker’s wife (see photo) was disappointed since she picked it on their last trip top Paso. It is a remarkable achievement that when spouses play bridge or taste wines together there is always something on which we can disagree. Aha! As my palate re-tuned from the more mineral continental roses’ I have been quaffing to the fruit bomb side of things I began to find the strawberry flavors more seductive and charming. We killed the bottle with flair. 14.2% alcohol. Nice wine from Edward Sellers. [URL]
2005 Mas de Brassandes Costieres de Nimes $10: Curiously, the good dokker had this ros√© from last summer already chilled. He called it a transition wine (evening plans and all). It was also a fruit bomb. And from SW France. Nimes is squarely in the Languedoc which is a region everyone who loves wine should visit at least once. Topographically identical to SoCal with wall-to-wall vineyards and chateaus. The principal grapes are grenache, syrah, mourverdre, and carignane. I have probably already written it but let me do so again (in case I already have). The Languedoc is traditionally the garbage hole of wine. Critics love to tell how the region produces so much ordinary and sub-par wines that in years with an especially large harvest the wine is sold off as fuel. This has changed in some measure over the past decade as French and international winemakers have recognized the conditions are outstanding for producing quality and even better the cost of vineyard land is (was?) extraordinarily attractive. I like to recall our 2001 trip to St. Chinian when it was almost impossible to find a bottle costing more than 10$. And the wine was fine….bring-it-back-in-your-son’s-backpack fine.
1997 Rochioli Allen Vineyard Chardonnay (cellar): Controversial wine for me. I have been a wine club member since the early 80s. I have tasted Rochioli through 20 plus vintages. In 2006 I sold off my remaining collection going back to 1996 to a dear friend who was more than happy to take it off my hands. This wine is from the dokker’s cellar. It is complex. “Coconut” says dokkerm. “Quince” says I. We agree tropical aromas and flavors emerge over 40 minutes in the glass. Tons of acid. The wine is still young. Dokker says it will not get better. I play my collector trump card and say it will go at least another few years, possibly longer. Playing my collector trump with the dokker is silly since he has tasted through my entire collection. Still looking for a path through his usually invulnerable intellect I suggest this wine captures the problem for me with Rochioli. It is too complex. “Too serious?” he snorts. Yes. I ask Gail (see photo above) what TV game show she would rather, Championship Jeopardy or Deal or No Deal. No contest. Deal gets her vote. Williams Selyem is Deal/No Deal. The look-alike babes march over the grandstand in their short satin dresses with their black leather suitcases and it’s all downhill from there. Turn off sound and dig the chicks hamming it up. Rochioli is Championship Jeopardy. Stay sharp. Hit and miss hoping for a category where you actually have some expertise. Fight intellectual exhaustion. Pat yourself on the back 30 minutes later for surviving with some pride intact. “Too many notes” said the King. Rochioli is top of the RRV heap with possibly “the best situated vineyard in North America”.
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2006 Curran Grenache Blanc ~$20: This is the 3rd vintage of this wine I have tasted…and enjoyed. In each vintage it is a late bloomer. Drink this in the first 6 months of release and you will ask yourself what is all the fuss. Wait 9 months (only another 3 or so, sit down) and you will be very happy. Give it a year and you will be amazed at how much this wine changed. At first it is recessive, withdrawn, almost sullen. Like first seeing Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear. So awkward. When she starts to mature a bit the charms emerge, slowly, gracefully. And after a full year she is all charm, delicate fruit, sparkling flavors, like a kiwi-blueberry-custard fruit tart. Too much to taste in one swallow. Kris Curran is a terrific winemaker (she makes Sea Smoke which is generally opened way too early). This meets the $20 criterion (maybe a little more but worth it) and is age-worthy (if a couple years count). That’s Kris on the left and her dear friend Strummy on the right. Curran Wines

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